It's about time!
For years pediatricians have been recommending parents turn their children around to face forward once they reach 20 pounds and 1 year... while the statistics have shown that children are 5 times less likely to be injured or killed in a car accident if they stay rear facing until they outgrow the seat's rear facing limits (between 30 and 35 pounds for many convertible seats). I've even heard stories of some pediatricians foolishly telling parents they can turn their children around earlier, like when they hit 20 pounds before 1 year.
Many parents take their pediatrician's word as gospel. I can only hope that pediatricians embrace this new recommendation and push the families of their patients to take it seriously. Extended rear facing saves lives!! No child should suffer an injury that could have been prevented had the child stayed rear facing in his car seat. Just ask Joel's grandfather.
We had done the research and didn't want to take any chances so we chose to keep Jesse rear facing through the limits of his Britax Boulevard. He didn't know any different so it wasn't really an issue. Sure, it was inconvenient at times. He screamed a lot as a young toddler and it was difficult to comfort him from the front seat when he was facing rear. He went through an awful phase of being afraid of the dark in the car. That was almost unbearable. As he grew, his legs bunched up and his shoes destroyed the back part of our seats. But we knew that in the case of an accident he was as safe as we could make him. When he reached 33.5 pounds at 2 years 9 months old, we turned him around. His seat's limit for rear facing is 35 pounds and with a winter coat, snow boots and full sippy cup, we knew he was close to the limit.
We don't know when Simon will approach 35 pounds. But we know that until he does, he will remain rear facing in his car seat. He might not think it's fair because his big brother is facing forward, but we'll know it's the best we can do for him.
Jesse on his last day facing rear - December 2008